Hydra Towards Sustainability- Paige K Breen

Hydras sustainability crisis may be one of the most mysterious I’ve ever read about….


On the outside you see Hydra: beautiful island that’s only a 90-minute ferry ride from Greece’s capital city Athens. You get off the ferry and see beautiful limestone paved streets, stone built, red tiled houses, and mules lined up near the port ready to give you a tour around Hydra. The crystal clear blue watered is accompanied by minimal large hotels, no mass tourism, and small and locally owned bars and restaurants. The wealthy individuals that own homes on Hydra aren’t as blingy as the homes on the other islands, and you likely run into these large homeowners at the supermarket because they shop at the same places as everyone else.


The islanders of Hydra are aware of its sustainability crisis but are unsure how to initiate change.  The locus of power is opaque. It’s unaware who is in charge of decision making and important issues regarding Hydra. Is it Athens? Is it Hydra? Does Hydra need to form their only political union to initiate much needed change? This unknown factor makes decision making for Hydra very difficult and quite mysterious.


Let’s talk about the garbage trucks…


The only modes of transportation on Hydra is by donkey, mule, or water taxi. This doesn’t include the islands two mysterious garbage trucks. The garbage trucks are most obviously in charge of picking up the trash and properly disposing it. Typically, they pick up trash in the morning and then drive to a discrete, desolate location in the middle of the island. The drop off the trash and set it on fire. This method is definitely not sustainable as Hydra makes it seem to be. The trash last summer was still burning at the end of November. If that statistic doesn’t say unsustainable, I don’t know what does.


The water sanitation situation of Hydra gets worse. There’s running water on the island, but no water. The Greek Orthodox Church sends their boat over to Hydra every day from the mainland. They pump the wastewater into the sea in the dead of night. This wastewater is including the water involved in sewage disposal. Hydra also had a plan for a treatment plant, but the funds provided by the European Commission allocated for this treatment plant has mysteriously vanished without a trace. The completion of the desalination plant is another bizarre mystery. Three years after completion, the plant still sits non- operational.


This article regarding Hydra and its sustainability efforts is one of the most bizarre, but interesting of all time. A great read for sure, and very interesting to say the least.

Eco-Innovation – Darby Ewing

This article discusses the eco-innovation within Greece. It uses the eco-innovation observatory to determine all of the concluding facts. This observatory is a platform for a structured collection and analysis of extensive range of eco-innovation and circular economic information from the European Union. One of the strongest impacts on the Greek environment is climate change and intensive ecosystem pollution. These traits are the strongest due to the island nature of the country. Greek environmental policy focuses on promotion of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures that can promote eco-innovation. Renewable energies can include solar, wind, and tidal. The country also focuses on growth in green and alternative tourism and innovation within agriculture and the food industry. Greece is seven points below the European Union’s average on performance. This gives Greece a score of 75. This also shows that they are ranked 27th out of 28. A cause of this could potentially by the low number of patent applications within Greece. Greece, however, is ranked 25th overall on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). They show an average performance in air quality, fish stocks, and GHS emission intensity. Greece does face challenges within this sector. These include air emissions from transport and electricity power stations, overexploitation of water resources, degradation of coastal zones, and loss of biodiversity in terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The Greek economy is mainly dominated by the tertiary sector, which includes services in tourism, shipping, and the public sector. The innovativeness of the economy depends on imported technology and organizational and marketing innovations. However, eco-innovation input is determined based on national indicators of the government’s environmental and energy research and development appropriations and outlays, research and development personnel, and green investments. According to the Operation Programme on Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, it will take 28.8 million for promotion costs for research and development and another 28.3 million to support green growth efforts. This lacks a clear and cohesive framework to support eco-innovation and eco-industries. The Action Plan for Implementation of National Strategy for Research, Technology Development, and Innovation focuses on industrial waste management, anti-pollution technologies and industrial symbiosis, climate change mitigation, access to environmental information, and mitigation of natural disasters. This research relies on a large extent of external funding, which would come from the European Union’s structural funds and research funds. With Law 4685, the protection of the natural environment will ensure sustainable development and termination of energy dependency of Greece on coal.

Industrial Symbiosis – Darby Ewing

This reading discussed the industrial symbiosis within Greece. The article goes into depth about the study of spatial allocation patterns. It mentions how there are different levels of eco-industrial networks. These include physical, spatial, economic, and environmental. The spatial scale, as mentioned above, is the main focus of this article. This sector deals with five areas. This includes the industrial park (IP), local (LOC), regional (REG), national (NAT), and global (GLO). These areas define where the producer and recipient are located within Greece. Industrial symbiosis is the relationship between 2 or more firms that exchange their waste as feedstock for the production process, which then forms industrial ecosystems. Industrial ecosystems are made up of eco-industrial ecosystems and eco-industrial networks. This approach helps pollution prevention, which uses materials, processes, and practices to decrease the creation of waste at the source. The main elements of this approach are recycling and the reuse of industrial waste and end-of-life products. Waste can be materials, energy, or water. This approach was researched through case studies within the Greek industry. Research was conducted through achieves of ministry of economics, personal professional experience of authors in the field on environmental industrial controls, and contacts and interviews with administration of a majority of industrial parks in Greece and executives of various businesses. This article researched 455 case studies and 16 eco-industrial networks. Through this research, they were able to identify and document 45 waste types. For the unit of analysis, single cases were used, not entire networks. In the article, special factors that affected spatial allocation of eco-industrial networks were discussed. Physical characteristics of waste, waste compatibility, spatial allocation of waste sources, production capacity of waste by spatial scale, land acquisition cost, labor cost, transportation cost, and behavioral factors are the main special factors that were discussed. For the physical characteristics of waste, it mentions how the transportation of waste heat energy is from power stations, which takes the form of superheated water. For the waste compatibility, it permits its direct use, and mentions how waste from agriculture activities, which can include malt, seed, and residues, can be widely used as raw material in other rural activities. Overall, this article helped define how Greece is using spatial factors and analysis to help determine the correct and most efficient way to handle waste management. Hopefully, through industrial symbiosis, Greece can control their waste management efforts to their best ability.